Cult classics 2012: Interviews

We’ve spoken to a stack of worthy musicians over the past six months, from established elderstatesmen of pop to stars of underground hip hop to fresh-faced R&B singers on the rise — Morrissey (pictured), Danny Brown, Black Atlass, Divine Fits, Big K.R.I.T. and Vilify, to name a few. And while the three features within aren’t necessarily the biggest names or the local faves, they’re Music’s very best back-and-forths since Cult MTL launched last summer.

Maximum Wattage

At this point, if you still don’t know who Mike Watt is, I’m afraid we can no longer be Facebook friends. Watt is a punk fuggin’ rock vanguard and bass player extraordinaire. The man’s pedigree speaks for itself — Minutemen (!!!!!!), firehose, solo artist and, for the past five years, “thunderbroom” player for the Stooges. The motherfuggin’ Stooges fer chrissakes!!!!!!
Not one to rest on his laurels, Watt has just released a book of his nautical-themed photographs, with the odd “spiel” tossed in for good measure. It’s called On and Off Bass, published by Three Rooms Press (100 pp, $26). I highly suggest you get your mitts on it, as it’s guaranteed to spruce up any coffee table. While we’re at it, another great Watt title that is definitely worth hunting down would be his 2003 book Spiels of a Minuteman, from local publisher L’Oie de Cravan.

Lee Fields, funk soul blues brother

“It’s a beautiful thing,” says Lee Fields, frequently. And why not? The extraordinary singer and performer has been doing what he loves for most of his life, and while his contemporaries are either retired or on the comeback circuit, he’s at the top of his game.

Post-pop hangover

Once again, this year’s Pop Montreal festival positively raged. If you truly did it up right, you are probably still in recovery mode, like I am.
My first Pop show on Thursday night was Aussie trio the Dirty Three at the perfect venue: Ukrainian Federation. The bar was set high here, as the Dirty Three was my projected Pop highlight. Violinist/keyboard player Warren Ellis remains everything I look for in a tried-and-true rock star. Punctuating his liquid violin lines with high kicks and jerking body movements, Ellis is simply untouchable. When things got a little too heavy and dark, Ellis was quick to add levity and regale the sold-out crowd with stream-of-conscious tales that involved Bono and whatever else his rambling mind could latch on to.